I never thought I’d quit my job as a fire fighter and go into full time ministry, teaching unemployed young men the art of wordworking. But I felt the Lord’s calling and you don’t say no when you hear that voice.
I planned on being a fire fighter my entire career but my life changed once I got saved by a friend at the station. I started reading my Bible every day. I got to Matthew 4:19, and I felt like the Lord was speaking to me directly. He was calling me to share the Gospel with people. But what could I possibly do to fulfill this?
I prayed and what became abundantly clear was that I was passionate about several things: Jesus, working, people and building things. I had built a few pieces of furniture and sold them to fund a mission trip, so I wondered if woodworking may be the vehicle to help me reach out to people.
On my off days, I started working with a couple guys who were having a very rough time in life, teaching them the art of wordworking. We built a couple pieces of furniture together and they sold right away at a consignment store. Maybe we were on to something! A few friends saw the positive effect this was having on these young men, and wanted to help me reach other guys who may be unemployed or struggling.
So we started Magic City Woodworks. And it grew over time, so much that I had to recently leave my job with the Fire Department to run this ministry. We take unemployed young men–some just out of prison, some college graduates–and make furniture that is sold in stores and online. We don’t just teach woodworking. We teach young men the art of work. We teach them responsibility, to show up on time, to work with integrity. We teach them about managing their money.
We all have a past, but we push their re-set button when they first enter the shop. And we help them grow spiritually. We pray, have a daily devotion and eat together. We are there to listen. So many millennials think work is miserable, something we just have to do. But work is a gift from God. It’s a form of worship.
We may sound like a shop and think like a shop, but we also teach and minister. God has blessed this ministry beyond my wildest dreams. I’m excited to see where He takes this!